Archive for March, 2008|Monthly archive page

Gulag history demands more attention

Anne Applebaum’s “Gulag: A History” is an extremely important book of 20th century history that all freedom loving people should read. I’m old enough to remember the end of Yuri Andropov’s term as leader of the USSR. I remember surprise at the extent of Glasnost under Gorbachev, and surprise again when our Country didn’t offer the former Soviet Union an analog to the Marshall Plan after the Cold War. Fast forward to today’s Nashi youth movement, and Putin’s steady departure from democratic principles. Now that I’ve read Applebaum’s book, I find the Russian history that didn’t happen in the last 20 years to be conspicuous.

The absence of a public and worldwide Russian atonement for Gulag sins (akin to that in Germany following the Holocaust) is quite troubling. Especially if the Russians continue the path of muffling or revising the history of the Soviet years, the rest of us must encourage them to remember.

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